Tim Yeo

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Tim Yeo
Tim Yeo MP (15216846249).jpg
Yeo, photographed in 2014
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment and Transport
In office
15 March 2004 – 6 May 2005
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Theresa May
Succeeded by Position abolished
Shadow Secretary of State for Public Services, Health and Education
In office
11 November 2003 – 15 March 2004
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
In office
23 July 2002 – 11 November 2003
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Preceded by John Whittingdale
Succeeded by James Arbuthnot (Trade)
Stephen O'Brien (Industry)
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
In office
18 September 2001 – 23 July 2002
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Preceded by Peter Ainsworth
Succeeded by John Whittingdale
Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
In office
December 1997 – 18 September 2001
Leader William Hague
Preceded by David Curry
Succeeded by Peter Ainsworth (Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Member of Parliament
for South Suffolk
In office
9 June 1983 – 30 March 2015
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by James Cartlidge
Personal details
Born (1945-03-20) 20 March 1945 (age 70)
London, England
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Diane Helen Pickard
Children 4
Alma mater Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Website www.timyeo.org.uk

Timothy Stephen Kenneth Yeo (born 20 March 1945) is a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he was the Member of Parliament for the constituency of South Suffolk between United Kingdom general election, 1983 and 2015, when he was deselected by his constituency party.

Yeo served as the Minister for the Environment and Countryside from 1993 to 1994 in the government of Prime Minister John Major. He also served in the Shadow Cabinet from 1998 to 2005 under Conservative Party leaders William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard.

Early life[edit]

Yeo was educated at Charterhouse School, before going on to Emmanuel College at Cambridge University where he read History and graduated in 1968. At university he "did no work, got a poor degree and adored it".[1]

From 1970–73, Yeo was Assistant Treasurer of Bankers Trust Company. Then, from 1975–86, he was a Director of Worcester Engineering Company. From 1980–83, he was Chief Executive of the Spastics Society (now known as Scope).

The Tadworth Court Children's Hospital was founded in 1984 under his chairmanship after Great Ormond Street Hospital had decided to relinquish the building in 1982. He resigned in the early nineties because of his parliamentary workload and was succeeded by Archie Norman.[2]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Yeo contested Bedwellty in the February 1974 general election before being elected as MP for South Suffolk in 1983. In 1988, he became the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd and in 1990 was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary for Housing and Planning. After the 1992 general election Yeo became Parliamentary Under Secretary for Health.

In 1993, Yeo was appointed Minister for the Environment and Countryside in John Major's government, but was forced to resign after a scandal involving his so-called "love child" with a Conservative councillor, Julia Stent, who was born on 8 July 1993.[3] Three years earlier, Yeo had said to the branch of Relate in his constituency, "It is in everyone's interests to reduce broken families and the number of single parents. I have seen from my own constituency the consequences of marital breakdown."[4] The story broke on Boxing Day during a quiet news period and intense coverage was given to the scandal. Yeo resigned on 5 January 1994.

In opposition[edit]

After the Conservatives' defeat in the 1997 general election, the party's new leader William Hague appointed Yeo as a spokesman on the Environment, Transport and the Regions. He was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister of Agriculture in 1998. In 2001, he played a leading role in exposing the Government's mishandling of the Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic.[5]

Yeo was a member of Iain Duncan Smith's Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. In 2003, Yeo was made Shadow Secretary for Education and Health by the party's new leader, Michael Howard,[6] with responsibility for the party's policy on both schools and hospitals. In 2004, Howard made Yeo the Shadow Secretary for the Environment and Transport.

Yeo resigned from the shadow cabinet shortly after the 2005 general election, saying he wished to be free to play a role in rethinking the Conservative Party's future. On 27 August, he ruled himself out of the ensuing party leadership election following Howard's resignation, announcing his backing for former Chancellor of the Exchequer Kenneth Clarke. The contest was won by the then-Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Skills, David Cameron.

Committee Chair[edit]

As Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, Yeo was an influential voice on energy policy. Despite his committee releasing a report sceptical of hydraulic fracturing in the United Kingdom, Yeo revised his personal opinion and supported the use of the technique in the UK. In 2012, he announced that he supported the proposal for a third runway at Heathrow Airport, and that his long-held "environmental objections" to expansion were "disappearing".[7] In 2013, he stated that the government reaching an agreement over nuclear power expansion was a "matter of great urgency", and warned that Britain could run out of energy if negotiations were not concluded quickly.[8]

On 9 June 2013, The Sunday Times alleged, citing video evidence of a conversation with the MP, that he had helped "coach" a solar energy company executive for an appearance before his parliamentary committee; the parent company pays Yeo. The MP has referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, and said that he intends to fight the claims made against him.[9] On 24 November 2015, he lost his libel action against the newspaper in the High Court, with judge Mark Warby QC saying that the newspaper's reporting was "substantially true" and describing Mr Yeo's evidence as "unreliable" and "untruthful", with one part being "unworthy of belief".[10] The Telegraph suggested this should also raise questions about Kathryn Hudson's performance as Standards Commissioner, as she had previously cleared Mr Yeo of breaching the rules on lobbying ministers for financial reward and of bringing the Commons into disrepute.[10]

On 9 June 2013 he temporarily "stepped aside" as the chair of the committee.[11] The Liberal Democrat Sir Robert Smith replaced him on an interim basis.[12]


Yeo was deselected for the 2015 general election in a secret ballot of South Suffolk Conservative Party members on 29 November 2013.[13] He remained the MP for the constituency until the election in May 2015.

Business interests[edit]

Yeo is currently chairman of AFC Energy plc. Previously he has been chairman of Univent plc, TMO Renewables and Eco City Vehicles plc. He and his wife Diane are sole directors of Locana Corporation (London) Ltd., Anacol Holdings Ltd. and General Securities Register Ltd. He is also a director of ITI Energy Ltd. He also writes articles for Golf Weekly and Country Life magazines and, occasionally, the Financial Times.

Yeo occupies a seat on the board of Eurotunnel.[14] In June 2013 The Sunday Times released a video in which Yeo claimed to have told a representative of GB Railfreight (a subsidiary of Eurotunnel) how to act in front of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, saying he was "able to tell him in advance what to say". Yeo had earlier excused himself from the committee, on the grounds that he might be "biased" if he questioned an employee of a company for which he himself worked, and rejected the claims.[15]

Political funding[edit]

Yeo received £67,290 in remunerations from corporate donors for work done for AFC Energy PLC, a developer of alkaline fuel cells focused on industrial application. From other corporate donors, he received £372,419 in other remunerations, from companies including TMO Renewables Limited, Groupe Eurotunnel SA, and Eco City Vehicles.[16]

Post-parliamentary career[edit]

Yeo is chairman of New Nuclear Watch Europe and chairs the University of Sheffield Industrial Advisory Board for the Energy 2050 initiative.[17][18]

Personal life[edit]

Yeo married Diane Helen Pickard on 30 March 1970 in Greenwich. They have a son, the portrait painter Jonathan Yeo, and a daughter.

Yeo also has two more daughters from outside his marriage. He fathered his first daughter in 1967 when he was still a student at Cambridge University and put her up for adoption.[19] Another daughter, Claudia, was born in 1993 through his extra-marital affair with Julia Stent.[20]


  1. ^ "Interview by Alice Thomson". The Daily Telegraph (London). 12 November 2003. 
  2. ^ Andrew Ross, Emmanuel College Magazine (2012–2013), pp 83–86
  3. ^ A history of Christmas scandal past, BBC, December 22, 1998
  4. ^ The Guardian, 27 December 1993
  5. ^ "Tim Yeo: Shadow agriculture minister", BBC News, 10 May 2001.
  6. ^ "Howard unveils his top team". BBC News. 10 November 2003. 
  7. ^ "Heathrow third runway not right for UK, says Greening". BBC News. 29 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "Pay up for nuclear or Britain could run out of energy, families are warned". The Times. 6 February 2013. (subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ "Tim Yeo rejects committee coaching claim". BBC News Online. 9 June 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Ex-MP Tim Yeo loses High Court libel action over lobbying claims". The Daily Telegraph. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  11. ^ Wintour, Patrick (10 June 2013). "Tim Yeo steps aside as committee chair amid lobbying claims". The Guardian (London). 
  12. ^ "Breaking: Sir Robert Smith replaces Yeo as interim chair of Energy and Climate Committee". Business Green. (subscription required (help)). 
  13. ^ "Tim Yeo MP deselected by South Suffolk Tories". BBC News Online. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ "Tim Yeo rejects committee coaching claim". BBC News. 9 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Tim Yeo — Remunerations". SearchTheMoney.com. 
  17. ^ "New Nuclear Watch Europe - About Us" Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  18. ^ "University of Sheffield aims to become a global leader in energy research and innovation", The University of Sheffield, 18 February 2015.
  19. ^ "After 36 years, Yeo asks the daughter he gave away to contact him". The Independent. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  20. ^ "The Yeo Resignation: Local party ousts Yeo: Whips blame MP for failing to reconcile constituency to his problems after fathering child in an affair". The Independent. 6 January 1994. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for South Suffolk
Succeeded by
James Cartlidge
Political offices
Preceded by
David Curry
Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Succeeded by
Peter Ainsworth
as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Preceded by
Peter Ainsworth
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Succeeded by
John Whittingdale
Preceded by
John Whittingdale
Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Succeeded by
James Arbuthnot
as Shadow Secretary of State for Trade
Succeeded by
Stephen O'Brien
as Shadow Secretary of State for Industry
New office Shadow Secretary of State for Public Services, Health and Education
Position abolished
Preceded by
Theresa May
Shadow Secretary of State for Environment and Transport